Rock Down Through . . . Electric Avenue
By Jason Cammisa
Last year, a partnership was announced between SolarCity, a solar power equipment provider, and Rabobank, N.A., a group of community banks owned by a Dutch financial services company, to install and operate free electric-vehicle charging stations between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The so-called "California E. V. corridor" is now open for business and consists of four charging stations at Rabobank branches along U.S. Highway 101. The 70-amp Tesla chargers used at the stations will provide a full charge in one-third the amount of time of other public charging stations (a depleted Roadster's battery can be fully charged in less than five hours).
California EV drivers can also take advantage of www.evchargermaps.com, a free Google Maps-based site that shows the location of charging stations throughout the state. Many are located in public parking garages and are free. Hey, when was the last time someone offered you a tank of gas to park in their lot?
How Far Will It Go?
By Don Sherman
Range anxiety is every electric car's bugaboo. To measure the Tesla Roadster 2.0 Sport's realistic operating distance, we selected the Range charging protocol, gave the battery pack an overnight dose of electrons, and drove on a mix of Michigan freeways and back roads until the full charge was depleted. Our goal was 200 miles.
First, we cruised 120 miles on local interstate highways at 70 mph. Entrance ramps and traffic dropped the average to 65 mph. Circling ever closer to the charger plug, we completed the run on suburban roads, where our average speed was 30 mph.
Some sacrifices were necessary to reach our 200-mile goal. For instance, we ignored the dude in the Chevy pickup itching for a drag race; instead, we accelerated as if a police cruiser was hard on our tail. We barely touched the brake pedal, instead relying on range-stretching regeneration to slow for traffic and stoplights. Instead of using the range-depleting climate-control system to warm the cabin above the ambient 37 degrees Fahrenheit, we bundled up and gritted our teeth. We avoided headlamp drain by conducting our test in daylight hours. Finally, we used a separate battery to power our test equipment.
A green bar graph labeled "ideal range" provides the crucial look into the Tesla's state of charge. At the beginning of our test, it reported a range of 245 miles. When the graph showed 72 miles of range left, the display changed to yellow, followed by orange at 46 miles. The final digital reading was 25 miles of remaining range. Thereafter, an ominous row of dashes (---) was displayed where the range digits normally reside - according to Tesla experts, the range-calculation algorithms are not dependable at very low charge states. We rolled the final feet toward the charging plug with 200 miles on the odometer and a thin sliver remaining on the bar-graph display.
Your mileage - and range anxiety - may vary.
Along the 101 with no emissions:
San Francisco 106 miles
Salinas 107 miles
Atascadero 48 miles
Santa Maria 66 miles
Goleta 103 miles
On sale: Now
Price: $110,950/ $155,850 (base/as tested)
Motor: 375-volt air-cooled AC, 288 hp, 295 lb-ft
Battery: Lithium-ion, 53 kWh
Weight: 2800 lb
Weight Dist. f/r: 34.8/65.2%
Tires f, r:Pirelli 210 Snow Sport 195/50HR-16, Pirelli SottoZero 225/45HR-17
0-60 mph 4.3 sec
0-100 mph 13.3 sec
1/4-mile 13.3 sec @ 100 mph
Top speed 119 mph (governed)
30-70 mph 3.9 sec
Peak acceleration 0.70 g
70-0 mph braking 195 ft
Peak braking 0.89 g